Sociogram of climate change counter-movement (CCCM) organizations by funding foundation, 2010. Graphic: Brulle, 2013

[cf. Graph of the Day: Total foundation funding distribution to U.S. climate change countermovement organizations, 2003-2010]

By George Zornick
27 December 2013

(Washington Post) – In his speech at Georgetown University this year, President Obama made it clear that tackling climate change will be one of the key priorities for the remainder of his term. “I refuse to condemn your generation and future generations to a planet that’s beyond fixing,” he said.

But as virtually everyone who follows that debate knows, climate denialists are aggressive and particularly well-funded. A new study from Drexel University has broken down the financial structure of the climate-denial movement, and the findings are essential for plotting out a map to success on combating global warming. It’s the first peer-reviewed analysis of its kind.

The thrust of the study, done by Dr. Robert J. Brulle, is that climate-denial money has largely been driven underground to dark-money sources. About 75 percent of the money backing climate-denial efforts is untraceable, primarily via conservative foundations and shadowy tax-exempt groups that obscure their funding sources.

What’s notable is that many of the big industrial funders — ExxonMobil and Koch Industries chief among them — have withdrawn their publicly traceable funding in recent years, and that withdrawal tracked closely with an increase in untraceable funding. You don’t have to be a genius to figure out what’s happening there.

So why is industry money going underground? In part, it’s just part of a much broader trend in the post-Citizen’s United world in which corporations prefer to make their political giving anonymous. But the somewhat drastic nature of that change in the climate-denial movement also indicates a couple vulnerabilities for the denialists. [more]

The dark money in climate change



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